1st Edition

Researching Early Childhood Education for Sustainability Challenging Assumptions and Orthodoxies

Edited By Sue Elliott, Eva Ärlemalm-Hagsér, Julie Davis Copyright 2020
    260 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    260 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book captures the now burgeoning research field of early childhood education for sustainability (ECEfS) and comprises insights from an ever-widening and diverse pool of researchers, who are promoting, engaging, and explaining the latest ECEfS research in the light of local, national, and United Nations global policy directives. With the increasing urgency of global climate disruptions, resource depletions, and biodiversity losses alongside greater human dislocation, the international scope of research and theory in this book provides a comprehensive guide to the role of sustainability in early childhood education, at a time when it is needed more than ever.

    Elliott, Ärlemalm-Hagsér, and Davis have brought together a collection of studies that offer new insights and approaches to ECEfS which challenge dominant narratives surrounding early childhood education and sustainability, including topics such as:

    • how diverse worldviews and cultures challenge perceptions of sustainability;
    • how bold national early education policies and urgent shifts in teacher education are imperative for driving transformative practices; and,
    • how ECEfS curriculum and pedagogy can be incorporated successfully into early years settings.

    This book will both inspire researchers and more deeply enable early years’ educators to practise sustainability with children, and so will be of great interest to scholars, lecturers, and researchers, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate students, across the increasingly intersecting fields of sustainability and early childhood education.

    List of Illustrations

    List of Contributors


    Eva Johansson

    Re-framing the Text, a Second Time

    Sue Elliott, Eva Ärlemalm-Hagsér, and Julie Davis

    Cluster I Ethics and Values

    Chapter 1 Analysis of Historical and Contemporary Early Childhood Education Theories in the Anthropocene

    Eva Ärlemalm-Hagsér and Sue Elliott

    Chapter 2 From Autonomous Child to a Child Entangled within an Agentic World: Implications for Early Childhood Education for Sustainability

    Kassahun Weldemariam and Arjen Wals

    Chapter 3 Unsettling Settlers’ Ideas of Land and Relearning Land with Indigenous Ways of Knowing in ECEfS

    Debra Harwood, Pam Whitty, Carie Green, and Enid Elliot

    Chapter 4 Alternative Worldviews on EDEfS: Reviewing and Re-examining Concepts around Human-nature Relationships, Images of Children, and Sustainability

    Sylvia Christine Almeida

    Cluster II Historical and Sociocultural Contexts

    Chapter 5 Synopsis: An Update on Countries Previously Represented in the First Volume (Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, plus China)

    Sue Elliott, Eva Ärlemalm-Hagsér, Okjong Ji, Wei Wang, and Glynne Mackey

    Chapter 6 ESD Coalition of Preschool and Municipality: A German Perspective on Early Childhood Education for Sustainability

    Ute Stoltenberg and Barbara Benoist-Kosler

    Chapter 7 Research in Early Childhood Education for Sustainability: Policies and Perspectives from India

    Sylvia Christine Almeida and Yuki Ohara

    Chapter 8 Early Childhood Environmental Education in the USA: Baby Steps Toward a Sustainable Worldview

    Victoria Carr and Linda Plevyak

    Cluster III Curriculum and Pedagogy

    Chapter 9 Early Childhood Teacher Education and Education for Sustainability: A Review of the Literature and Mapping of Courses

    Julie Margaret Davis and Juliet Elizabeth Davis

    Chapter 10 Physical Education and Natural Sciences in Norwegian Early Childhood Teacher Education: Mutually Supporting EfS?

    Barbara Maria Sageidet, Marianne Presthus Heggen, Ingunn Berrefjord Ugelstad, Kristin Grøsvik, and Synnøve Eikeland

    Chapter 11 Pedagogies for ECEfS in Bush Kinder Contexts: A Comparative Report on Two Australian Studies

    Leanne Grogan and Fran Hughes

    Chapter 12 Unruly Voices: Growing Climate Action Pedagogies with Trees and Children

    Narda Nelson and B. Denise Hodgins

    Chapter 13 A Project Narrative about Digital Tools, Children’s Participation and Sustainability in a Swedish Preschool

    Linda Andersson, Ulrika Johannesson, Eva Ärlemalm-Hagsér, and Sue Elliott

    Chapter 14 Stories of Disruption: Perspectives on the Use of Images to Prompt Children’s Action Taking for Sustainability

    Lyndal May O’Gorman

    Chapter 15 The Place of ECEfS in the Turkish Teacher Education System

    Şule Alici

    Chapter 16 Children’s Voices about Fish and Tadpoles in an Australian Pond Ecosystem: It’s All About Balancing and Belonging

    Sue Elliott and Rosanne Pugh



    Sue Elliott is Senior Lecturer and Course Co-ordinator in Early Childhood Education at the University of New England, Australia. She is an experienced practitioner, academic, author, and researcher in early childhood education with a focus on education for sustainability, outdoor playspaces, and forest preschools.

    Eva Ärlemalm-Hagsér is Professor in early childhood teacher education at Mälardalen University, Sweden. Her research focus is on education for sustainability and children's participation and agency within policy and practices.

    Julie Davis is Adjunct Professor in the School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education at the Queensland University of Technology, Australia. She is an active researcher in ECEfS through ongoing research projects, publications, and conference presentations both in Australia and internationally.